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Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX Case E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases
Written by Tom Jaskulka   
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX Case
Closer Look: Node 304
Node 304 Detailed Features - GPUs
Node 304 Detailed Features: CPU Coolers
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX Case

Manufacturer: Fractal Design
Product Name: Node 304
Model Number: FD-CA-NODE-304-BL
UPC: 817301010979
Price As Tested: $85.97 Amazon / $89.99 NewEgg

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Fractal Design.

Everything is getting smaller. With today's emphasis on efficiency and mobility, and processors that do even more with much less power consumption, it is a trend that will probably continue. With the success of enclosures such as the BitFenix Prodigy and Coolermaster's Elite 120 Advanced, it is great to see other manufacturers embrace this trend and put their own innovations and ideas into the small form factor market. Choices are always a good thing for a customer, and Fractal Design brings their own blend of ITX with the Node 304. In the following pages, Benchmark Reviews will take a closer look at the ideas featured in the Fractal Design Node 304 FD-CA-NODE-304-BL Mini-ITX tower computer case.

ITX and small form factor cases have always intrigued me. It is fascinating to watch different manufacturers take on different thermal and layout challenges that are always a result of cramming lots of performance into a very small space. The question for me (and for most enthusiasts) becomes "how much power can I cram in this thing?" While Fractal Design imagines the Node 304's purpose to be a file server, HTPC or powerful gaming system, my first question when looking at SFF enclosures is "what's the biggest graphics card I can fit in that thing?" followed quickly by "will it keep everything cool enough?" Given my experience with a Silverstone FT03 Mini, I can say I'm already excited by the big open filtered intake on the side and its benefits for cooling a powerful GPU. Let's take a closer look at what else can fit in the Node 304.

Node304_Side.JPG

Although many reviews for small form factor systems cover thermals and features quite well, I'll only touch on those - my main focus on this particular review will be what can actually fit in the Node 304 and the lessons I learned building a system into this chassis.

Node 304 Features

  • Compact, modular interior
  • Minimalistic design with an elegant aluminum front panel
  • Unique new modular mounting system that accommodates up to 6 hard drives
  • Accommodates tower CPU coolers and single-fan water cooling systems
  • Filtered air intakes ensure a dust-free environment for internal components
  • Three Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fans included
  • Excellent cooling for all components
  • Accommodates ATX power supplies
  • Fan controller for all fans included
  • USB 3.0 for fast file transfers

Node 304 Specifications

Technical specifications

  • Mini ITX, DTX motherboard compatibility
  • 2 expansion slots
  • 6 - supports either 3.5" or 2.5" HDD / SSD
  • ATX PSUs, up to 160mm in length (To fit in combination with a long graphics card, PSUs with modular connectors on the back typically need to be shorter than 160 mm)
  • Graphics cards, up to 310mm in length, when 2 HDD brackets are removed (Graphics cards longer than 170 mm will conflict with PSUs longer than 160mm)
  • Tower CPU coolers, up to 165 mm tall
  • Case dimensions (W x H x D): 250 x 210 x 374 mm
  • Case volume: 19,5 Liters
  • Net weight: 4,9 kg

Cooling / ventilation

  • 2 - Front mounted 92mm Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fans, 1300 RPM speed (compatible with 80mm fans) - included
  • 1 - Rear mounted 140mm Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fan, 1000 RPM speed (compatible with 120mm fans) - included
  • Removable air filters for front fans and PSU
  • Fan filter for graphics card
  • 1 - fan controller for all 3 fans included

Front interface

  • 2 - USB 3.0 (Internal 3.0 to 2.0 adapter included)
  • 1 - 3.5mm audio in (microphone)
  • 1 - 3.5mm audio out (headphone)
  • Power button with LED
  • HDD LED

Source: Fractal Design



 

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